What purpose do hatred and vengeance serve?

Forgiveness isn’t easy. But forgiving others sets us free to live to our true potential

What purpose do hatred and vengeance serve?I admit I’m only beginning to understand the concept of forgiveness. But I do know it’s a common thread in the lives of the people who I most deeply admire. I can imagine Nelson Mandela sitting in his tiny prison cell, fighting an internal battle to keep from losing hope. Somehow he came to the…

The lessons we can all learn from the brave women of the Congo

True power doesn’t rest with the violent, it lies with those of integrity and courage

The lessons we can all learn from the brave women of the CongoCanadian Gen. Romeo Dallaire stated, “At its heart, the Rwandan story is the failure of humanity to heed a call for help from an endangered people.” It would be nice to believe that the world learned its lesson in Rwanda, where nearly one million people were slaughtered in roughly 90 days as the world stood…

Canada, a land of immigrants, should continue to welcome newcomers

As a backdrop to the disheartening anti-immigration rhetoric, let’s reflect on the enormous contribution of newcomers to Canada

Canada, a land of immigrants, should continue to welcome newcomersHaving observed the jarring debates over immigrants in Brexit Britain and border walls in the United States, I found myself reflecting on how differently Canadians are responding to their own border crisis. Is there a crisis? It depends who you talk to, but yes, even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledges there's a difficulty, particularly…

Aung San Suu Kyi’s loss of Canadian citizenship should be applauded

Canada is making a powerful statement about her role in denying citizenship to others in her own country

Aung San Suu Kyi’s loss of Canadian citizenship should be applaudedThe House of Commons recently voted unanimously to call the killings, persecution, rape, abuse, destruction of homes and forced displacement of Rohingya from Myanmar as genocide. More than 900,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since 2017. Now, the House has voted unanimously to revoke Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary Canadian citizenship, which she received in 2007.…

Suffering and death have meaning … of the deepest significance

Even in the depths of suffering, there is still reason to hope for the future. Even if we are in despair today, we can embrace the joys of the past

Suffering and death have meaning … of the deepest significanceRussian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote, “It’s the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet tender joy.” It should be no surprise that the writings of Dostoyevsky had a profound influence on Viktor Frankl, the Austrian Jewish psychiatrist, as he faced life in Nazi concentration camps. Dostoyevsky endured horrendous suffering in…

The lessons of Rwanda seem lost on Canadians

We funded, educated and then sheltered the man who gave the Rwandan genocide its intellectual impetus. Will we make the same mistakes in Mali?

The lessons of Rwanda seem lost on CanadiansApril marks the 24th anniversary of the beginning of the genocide in Rwanda. On April 6, 1994, the aircraft carrying Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down above Kigali. The worst genocide since the Holocaust began immediately thereafter. A party of extremists within the majority Hutu population aimed to murder the entire Tutsi minority. Over…

Stepping beyond stereotypes to right wrongs

The key is to focus on acceptable and unacceptable actions, not the ethnicity or gender of the actor

Stepping beyond stereotypes to right wrongsPsychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said, “There are two races of men in the world, but only these two – the ‘race’ of decent men and the ‘race’ of indecent men. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society.” This is a powerful conclusion from a man who witnessed the very…

Was Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe always a thug?

It’s hard to know for sure, but one can safely say that, once ensconced in power, thuggery came easily to him

Was Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe always a thug?Some years ago, I was having lunch with my favourite aunt when she brought up the topic of Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwe’s evolving storyline was troubling her. The Catholic charity she was involved with had adopted Zimbabwe as one its projects and Mugabe had been seen as a good guy. You could even say he was…

Raphael Lemkin: the man who coined the word genocide

Lemkin lobbied tirelessly for the United Nations to adopt a definition of the word genocide

Raphael Lemkin: the man who coined the word genocideI recently asked my Grade 12 students if Raphael Lemkin, the man who coined the term “genocide”, was a great man. What I got in response from my students was quite thought provoking. Everyone seemed to agree that Lemkin was a noble man with a noble cause. He was a Polish Jew, born in 1900.…

Was the Ukrainian Red Famine genocide or incompetence?

Historians are divided on Josef Stalin’s intent in the Ukraine that resulted in millions of deaths. Anne Applebaum’s new book has revived the dispute

Was the Ukrainian Red Famine genocide or incompetence?Chances are Anne Applebaum’s Red Famine will set the cat among the pigeons with respect to the horrendous Ukrainian hunger of 1932-33. It’s already touched off a rhetorical skirmish between the author and an early reviewer. Applebaum is an American journalist-historian whose Gulag: A History won a 2004 Pulitzer Prize. Russia is a particular specialty of…